We are committed to nurturing a culture of exploration, experimentation, and prototyping in education. One way that we do this is through our Research and Design Labs. Within each lab, we form short-term (8 weeks to 1 year) teams that are focused upon conducting one or more simple and  inexpensive experiments that provide actionable insight about a provocative question, persistent problem, or promising opportunity in education. Each team commits to documenting lessons from those experiments. This often takes the form of a 4-6 minute video narrative and/or a whitepaper. Whenever possible, teams create rudimentary prototypes that are used as part of the experiments (a rough draft educational game, a short course with an innovative teaching and learning strategy, etc.).

Research and design teams have four main goals:

  1. Model the promising practice of exploration, experimentation, and prototyping in education.
  2. Nurture and deepen curiosity and a culture of experimentation among team members.
  3. Make a positive contribution to solving a documented and current educational problem or pursuing a promising or emerging educational opportunity.
  4. Identity potential future educational prototypes or products for further refinement and dissemination.

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Wonder Lab

Focus: Understanding the role of wonder and curiosity in enhancing student learning and engagement.

Status: Currently recruiting a core team that will define an initial plan and timeline for experiments.

Agency and Ownership Lab

Focus: Understanding practices that measurably increase a learner sense of agency and personal ownership in setting learning goals, defining effective pathways to achieving those goals, and achieving them.

Status: Currently recruiting a core team that will define an initial plan and timeline for experiments.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many labs are there at Birdhouse Learning Labs?

We have two current labs and will add others in the near future. Each lab supervises one or more experiments each year.

How do I become part of a BLL Research and Design Lab Team?

Applications for joining a team open on April 1, and team members will be selected by May 1. There are volunteer, internship, and part-time paid positions that we plan to make available this April. There are both 8-week summer positions as well as 1-year agreements that require an initial face-to-face meeting. While it depends upon the nature of the work, many positions do not require a physical presence, as work can be completed through virtual teaming.

How long does a team or lab last?

Labs are persistent, but most positions in a lab ask for a commitment over an 8 week period or the length of a given experiment. A smaller number of positions call for a one-year or longer commitment, helping to coordinate and conduct a larger portfolio of experiments for a lab.

Who owns the intellectual property produced by a lab or experiment team?

Labs are run and operated by Birdhouse Learning Labs, but matters of intellectual property vary from one experiment to the next, depending upon a variety of considerations. For each position, we are explicit and intentional when it comes to clearly defining expectations and the conditions related to intellectual property.

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